By Joseph Erunke
The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, has said 50 percent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture.
Executive Secretary of the commission,Hamid Bobboyi,who said this, Tuesday,in Abuja, regretted that basic education “pupils sit on the floor to take lessons.”
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two percent to four percent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding to the security challenges bedeviling the country, insisting that rising students population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Bobboyi made the plea at a one-day Civil Society Organisations CSO-Legislative Round Table Meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
He argued that while the children of the rich who are merely 20 percent of the population can afford to garner resources for private schools, the less privileged constituting 80 percent are stocked with the public institutions.
The UBEC Boss equally tasked relevant civil society organisations, the media and other critical stakeholders not to shy away from rendering assistance to the government in bridging observed gaps in learning and teaching processes, especially at the basic school level.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibiziem, decried the failure of States’ Universal Basic Education, SUBEBs, to sustain some UBEC- initiated projects such as Classroom Libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
He called for a rapid response initiative to commence repairs of dilapidated schools and pledged Senate’s support for any move by the commission towards ensuring the provision of a good learning environment for students.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
He emphasized the need for accountability in the educational sector, noting that in addition to vertical accountability, there was need to entrench horizontal accountability whereby the office of the accountant general strengthens other accounting offices to ensure transparency in the sector.